Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farm Workers Viven!

Just home for a few hours after I had no patients until late afternoon. It's the Cesar Chavez federal holiday and the CSUC students are off and partying up a storm, many in these cheap "sombreros" which are deeply offensive in light of the history and current struggles of California's farm workers. It is certainly understandable that they are enjoying the warm sunny weather but it shows such a huge disconnect between people who eat produce and those that plant, tend and harvest it that I had to make mention. There is a wonderful 4 part series called Pastures of Plenty that is available from and it should be ethically required for all of us who shop commercially for foodstuffs. Between the clinic in Hamilton City and Chico, the river is still very high. This is the view from the outdoor seating at Scotty's Landing where I sat in the sun, took in some radiation exposure and read the News and Review. I left the clinic in time to complete the international prayer for the waters of Fukushima; in time to hear that milk here in California is testing with elevated levels of radio-isotopes... but remembering it was the contamination of milk that led Women's Strike for Peace in the early 1960s to move us to the Test Ban Treaties. We have so much to do-- stop nukes, convert to non-fossil fuels, end the wars, respect the workers, sustain good jobs and housing for all... somehow it is all coherent and achievable if we can just get some critical mass of human will and energy. My respect to all those working for social justice. Love across time and space to the legacy of Cesar Chavez.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mostly Santa Cruz

This week I made a small trip into my representative's office. Wally Herger had responded to a letter I wrote to save Planned Parenthood funding with total uninformed drivel so I sent his letter to as many people as I could and responded myself. Wally thinks that only one percent of Planned Parenthood services are primary care services and I just couldn't let that go-- so many young women (men and older women,) depend on the services, not just for reproductive care but for cancer and STD screening and treatment and referrals. It's too much to go into here but it is offensive that he takes his ill-informed information from right wing, sensationalistic, rabidly anti-abortion websites. Then Ellen Simon and I took a longer trip to Santa Cruz to visit our old friend Mathilde Rand (on biodiesel.)
Besides the beautiful shift in weather from rainy to springy we were able to get me some (Veggie Voyagers) book sales, time on public t.v. on a panel with other non-fossil fuel spokespersons, and lots of bio-diesel to take home from the Green Station.
One of the high points of our time together was the tour of the backyard of this Food Not Lawns cooperative. It was a-buzz with music, hair-cutting and urban gardening and small animal husbandry. We had a lovely time with our tour guide who reminded me alot in her commitment and straight-forwardness with the GRUB cooperative folks here in Chico. Their model is how to lower food costs, learn self sufficiency, and live in harmony with the earth even within an urban environment... It was inspiring.
Another favorite thing, of course, was walking to and on the beach. We got to see and imagine the damage done to some of the piers in the harbor by the tsunami and wander along this old railroad line, now decidedly in the tide line. It was a wonderful visit and I really appreciate Ellen's companionship and Mathilde's hospitality and the friendship of both.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring starts

Spring arrived with great resolve and left us without a view of that fantastic full moon that was a not-to-miss. Nor was I supposed to miss the Spark & Cinder 35th Anniversary but I did. I didn't miss this Moby Dick white whale of a sycamore breaching above One Mile today, its barnacles acorn woodpecker caches.
I was there because I also missed Dance Church, an opportunity I was going to try because Michael is away and I missed the Hallelujah dancing last night. As if by synchrony I met up again with Blackbird and Einstein, who I'd met the week previously up at Child's Meadows. They are a human-goose team who bonded and now I carry concern for-- beautiful fragile beings wandering on the edge of the storms.

Always I've had hope we could turn things around. When we were fresh with the Green Party we met here twenty some years ago. Now I wonder what can work and who it will be who creates the revival. Believe it or not, I wrote to Ralph Nader and asked him if he knew of anyone else who was honest and incorruptible to assist toward the presidency. I mused on where the energy goes and what gets in the way of movement building as I wandered through the dripping spring renaissance, in love with the water, thinking about the tsunami and the snow pack and Michael in the mountains...

Yesterday was the Anniversary of the Iraq War. A hardy and dear cohort of caring people created a small Peace Uprising and I'm sitting here sorting postcards to send to Washington and Quantico, the new Guantanamo. The young veteran speaking here touched my heart with a war story too painful to recount. How he told it reinforced my resolve. Most people care but don't think they can do anything. I care and can't care that what I do might not do anything... I'll disintegrate like those earthworms on the pavement today if I don't try but I'm ready for our Egypt or our Wisconsin... I want the voices of the people strong around me. One person said, why do we let the 1% push around the other 99% of us? Why? Another truthful voice on the radio, just a fleeting bit of truth.... the translator started to cry because the young man she interpreted for had made a statement about how we must get rid of all nuclear reactors and weapons. Yes, we knew that.
At the root of everything is money. Libya=money. I went into the peace rally against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and came out and we were at war with Libya.... one more crazy dictator we supported and now want out.
This disequilibrium with so much coming at us at once is not the way of nature... no rests between cataclysms, no harmony, interconnections not for symbiosis but for greed.

Still spring continues to provide its tidal magnificence. Now it is cold and wet but soon it will peel back and explode with green. Everything in its time and I guess it's just my job to be in the flow.
Gracias a la Vida.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting through

This kind of weather, shot from out by the river on my way home from work, is typical for this time of year. Otherwise, I don't know what is typical of what is going on. I've been worried sick about Japan, Libya and Wisconsin without a real outlet.

Today we went up into a pretty good storm. It was raining until Morgan summit then snow and sleet below Lassen Park where we wandered the day away. One good thing that drifted back into my awareness is how, when you manufacturer a "crisis" by skiing miles into a storm within a forest, the only way to solve it is one step at a time with breath and attention in the moment. It is one thing to be in the heart of the crisis and another to be far distant to one and fretting though. I have some things to try this week--like doing radio ( 90.1FM) on Friday from 11:30-1pm, filling in for Beau on the Peace and Justice Program...that will focus my urgency and my friend visits tomorrow from Japan and hopefully we can make a plan for how to help meaningfully....
Meanwhile the land is beautiful with some plants bolting and many trees still flowering. Kelsi, one of the kids who grew up on this land, had her baby this week and she is also part of what fills my heart and mind.

Meanwhile, Michael prepares for another couple of big ski trips away. He's been processing veggie oil and getting the VV road warrior ready. I will miss him but know this is what his spirit longs for and I really do get it-- the world is just you and the elements on days like today and the beauty and simplicity resonates just right.

The BIG event of this last week for me was the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day. We celebrated it with women and men from 129 countries who held bridge events to draw attention to the suffering of women in some of the countries like Afghanistan but also to wake us up to the right wing attacks on women's reproductive freedom here in the U.S. It was wonderful to see the huge support from the motorists below us on Hwy. 99.
One foot in front of the other....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blossoms frame faces, creeks

Yesterday I spent mostly with my friend Laurie since it was her birthday but I also went to a funeral for a fine public health expert named Nino Calarco and a fund raiser for our friend Rudy Giscombe who is deeply ill with cancer. It made my heart a bit heavy but it was good to share the time with Laurie as she's moving away soon.
Today I peddled over to the GRUB cooperative, passing gorgeous Carisa (of MaMuse) on the way through the wet world.

I dawdled down to Comanche Creek and got this picture.... maybe it will make it into Creeks of Chico next year. Comanche Creek holds "March" for this year's calendar.

Over at GRUB I got a picture of Lee, who used to be a neighbor. Everyone gets a flower frame these days. How lovely life is with a flower frame.
And to frame in the frame this is Little Chico Creek... no room here for my Lindo Channel shots but that's where Laurie and I went walking yesterday. Let the spring heal your heart-- go outside.